How to Eat Out – Vegan

Sometimes finding vegan options when going out to eat can be challenging. Here I will share a few tips to ensure you are eating vegan even in what may seem to be difficult situations and/or restaurants with limited options.


If you are planning to eat at a restaurant the best thing you can do is look up their menu online. Depending on how much time I have or how challenging the options appear I may call ahead to see what they can offer. If I know someone who ate at the restaurant prior I may contact them for what they ordered and if they liked it.

If I am eating at someone’s home I will ask the host what options they may have. If I don’t know the host, I may ask someone who does and see if they know what options they may offer. If I’m not sure what the options are I may take an additional step. This would be to eat something before I go to ensure I won’t be starving at some point. I can’t remember a situation where I couldn’t find something offered that would hold me over till I left if I had something to eat prior to arriving.

I’ve used this technique in the past when meeting a group at a restaurant with what seemed to be limited options and the potential for being there for a period of time. I’ve never had an issue being hungry during the dinner in this situation. I do remember going to a sports bar with very limited options to watch a game. I kept fruit in my car and simply went out to it once at half time.

How to order or ask for something vegan

If I had a chance to do the preparation noted above I will reference that in some way when I’m ordering and may ask:

  • “When I looked at your menu online, it looked like this item could be done vegan. Is that possible?”
  • “I didn’t see a vegan option for the entree. I cannot have any dairy, eggs, meat or fish. What would you suggest?”

In some cases if the server shows any signs not being confident in what a particular menu item has in it or options to consider I will add something like:

  • “Could you check with the chef/cook? If I have any dairy/eggs/meat/fish in the dish I will get sick.” Pick one or more of the animal products to use in the sentence depending on what your question is….dairy/eggs/meat/fish.
  • “Could you check for me? I can have a really bad reaction to x.”

Although I am not allergic to these animal products they do cause inflammation to us all and will irritate or make me sick in some way, especially now that I don’t consume any of it.

If I’m at someone’s home I am much more subtle of course and may ask something like this:

“Could you tell me if there is any dairy/eggs/meat/fish in that dish? I’m vegan and can’t eat it. No worries if there is, just checking. Thanks.”

If there is and I did my preparation, I will not go hungry.

Be Flexible

One thing I make sure of in every situation – it’s not about me. If a group is considering options where to eat I will go where ever the group decides and figure it out in the most difficult of situations. I really do consider it a fun challenge if eating out in what could seem like a challenging situation. Some of the most difficult I would say include bar and grills, steak houses, diners and BBQ restaurants.

If I didn’t have time to do any preparation and the menu looks rough I will ask the server:

  • “I’m vegan…I can’t have any dairy, eggs, meat or fish. What would you recommend?”
  • “I’m vegan…I can’t have any dairy, eggs, meat or fish. Do you make anything off the menu that may be an option?”

If the server struggles with coming up with options I may ask something like:

  • “Could you check with the chef/cook? Sometimes they get really creative and come up with some amazing options.”
  • “I see you have some pasta dishes. Could you make a pasta, with red sauce and grill some veggies to throw on top?”

Travel with snacks available

One final tip is to travel with a few snacks to hold you over in any situation. I rarely leave my home without a small bag of snacks or a banana. Fasting is also an effective technique that has great benefits too.

I hope you found these tips helpful. Try to do your best – prepare as much as you can prior to eating out, ask questions to clarify and/or identify options and be as flexible as you can. I find if you are comfortable in the why you eat this way it’s very easy to engage in any situation as difficult as it may seem.

Add Health to Your Life

Featured Blog Photo

  • Post Crystal River Triathlon race last week at the Breakfast Station restaurant with very limited vegan options…I actually had to send my  toast back as I forgot to say “no butter” after requesting no animal products…always need to validate what comes out. Here I chose to have grilled potatoes and assorted veggies along with a side of wheat toast…it worked!
  • Pictured left to right at our table – Christine Valdes, Tim Valdes, JC Laverde, Jeff Turner, and myself

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